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  • Writer's pictureAmber Carmen Arroyo, PhD

Overcome CPAP claustrophobia

When you have sleep apnea, your airway can close up while you sleep and make you stop and start breathing many times throughout your sleep. CPAP machines are used to treat sleep apnea by keeping your airway open with a steady flow of air pressure. Some people with sleep apnea may feel claustrophobic wearing the CPAP mask. This is because of the sensation of being enclosed in a mask or feeling too much air pressure from the machine.

Claustrophobia is a feeling of fear or anxiety that can happen when someone feels trapped or enclosed. Don’t worry. There are ways to make it easier! Making sure your mask fits well and setting realistic goals for CPAP can help you conquer feelings of claustrophobia. Read more about how to overcome claustrophobia and receive the full benefits of CPAP to treat your sleep apnea and improve your health!

Get over claustrophobia and get the most of CPAP

To reduce feelings of claustrophobia, you can start by finding a mask that fits you well and doesn’t feel too tight. Some people find nasal or nasal pillows masks more comfortable. Try Somnea’s mask finder tool to find the best mask for you, and also talk to your care manager about finding the best solution.

Getting used to your CPAP takes time, so it’s important to be patient and have realistic expectations. Start by wearing your CPAP mask for just a few minutes during the day and then slowly increase that time as you feel more comfortable. You might also try the mask on without the CPAP machine. Remember to take deep breaths and try to relax to keep anxiety in check. Practicing wearing the mask for short periods during the day can increase comfort and reduce feelings of claustrophobia.

CPAP helps with health and wellness

Feeling claustrophobic with CPAP is completely normal for some people. Don’t worry, the Somnea team and your care manager are here to help you! Even though it may take some time to adjust to the feeling of CPAP, using it is important for treating sleep apnea. Using CPAP to treat sleep apnea can significantly improve your health. It significantly lowers your chances of having a fatal heart attack [1] and reduces heart problems like high blood pressure [2]. CPAP therapy will also make you feel more awake and energized during the day because it stops sleep apnea from happening, which improves your mental health [3] and makes you less sleepy [4]. Prepare yourself for the best day possible by using your CPAP for a good night’s sleep.


  1. Marin JM et al. Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study. Lancet 2005.

  2. Frost & Sullivan. Hidden health crisis costing America billions: Underdiagnosing and undertreating obstructive sleep apnea draining healthcare system. 2016.

  3. Habukawa M et al. Effect of CPAP treatment on residual depressive symptoms in patients with major depression and coexisting sleep apnea: contribution of daytime sleepiness to residual depressive symptoms. Sleep Med 2010.

  4. Budhiraja R et al. Predictors of sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea at baseline and after 6 months of continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Eur Respir J 2017.


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